U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio is calling on President Joe Biden to fire the nation’s top military officer after it was revealed he told a Chinese army leader that he would have tipped him off if former President Donald Trump opted to attack.
In the Tuesday letter to Biden, the Florida Republican noted that he had “grave concern” about a Washington Post report that Army Gen. Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, “worked to actively undermine the sitting Commander in Chief of the United States Armed Forces and contemplated a treasonous leak of classified information to the Chinese Communist Party in advance of a potential armed conflict with the People’s Republic of China (PRC).”
“These actions by General Milley demonstrate a clear lack of sound judgment, and I urge you to dismiss him immediately,” Rubio wrote.
On Tuesday, the Post, citing an upcoming book by two of its staffers about Trump’s final months in office, reported that Milley twice called Gen. Li Zuocheng of the People’s Liberation Army to assure him that America would not attack China.
The calls took place just prior to the 2020 election, and just after the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol.
Chinese officials, according to the Post, were increasingly wary of Trump’s “belligerent” rhetoric toward them. During that first call, Milley reportedly told Li, “General Li, you and I have known each other for now five years. If we’re going to attack, I’m going to call you ahead of time. It’s not going to be a surprise.”
Rubio cited that incident in his letter to Biden.
“I do not need to tell of you (sic) the dangers posed by senior military officers leaking classified information on U.S. military operations, but I will underscore that such subversion undermines the President’s ability to negotiate and leverage one of this nation’s instruments of national power in his interactions with foreign nations,” Rubio wrote.
Rubio, a senior member of both the Senate Intelligence and Foreign Relations committees, also cited another piece of the Post’s report that recalled when Milley, because of his alleged concern about Trump, gathered the Joint Chiefs to review procedures for launching nuclear weapons and ordered them to make sure he was involved in that decision, should it arise.
“Even more egregiously, reports indicate that General Milley interfered with the procedures by which the civilian commander-in-chief can order a nuclear strike,” Rubio wrote.
“He purportedly instructed officials not to take orders without his involvement and forced them to take an oath to that effect. A senior military officer interfering with that civilian-controlled process is simply unacceptable at best, and at worst, would cause ambiguity which could lead to war.”
Continuing, Rubio added, “General Milley has attempted to rationalize his reckless behavior by arguing that what he perceived as the military’s judgment was more stable than its civilian commander. It is a dangerous precedent that could be asserted at any point in the future by General Milley or others. It threatens to tear apart our nation’s longstanding principle of civilian control of the military.”
“You must immediately dismiss General Milley,” the senator concluded. “America’s national security and ability to lead in the world are at stake.”
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